Tag: Bob Dylan

Dylan city map

Wednesday, 7 December, 2016 0 Comments

“Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
‘We’ll meet on edges, soon,’ said I
Proud ‘neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now.”

My Back Pages from Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964).


First Aid Kit could fill in for Bob Dylan in Stockholm

Sunday, 20 November, 2016 0 Comments

On Wednesday, the Swedish Academy announced that Bob Dylan would skip next month’s Nobel Prize in Literature award ceremony because of “other” commitments. “He wishes that he could accept the award personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible,” it said.

But all is not lost as Dylan is expected to play a gig to Stockholm in spring. Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, told Swedish public radio that she received confirmation from Dylan’s manager. “Then he will have an excellent opportunity to hold his lecture,” she said. Giving a public talk is the only requirement for the Nobel laureate and must be done within six months starting from December 10.

A radical solution would be to get First Aid Kit to fill in on the Big Day. The Swedish duo consists of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg and here’s their interpretation of It Ain’t Me Babe, which originally appeared on Another Side of Bob Dylan, released in 1964.


In His Own Words: Bob Dylan paints

Sunday, 13 November, 2016 0 Comments

“I believe that the key to the future is in the remnants of the past. That you have to master the idioms of your own time before you can have any identity in the present tense.” So writes Bob Dylan, the recent Nobel laureate in Literature, in the introduction to Bob Dylan, The Beaten Path, an exhibition of his landscapes at the Halcyon Gallery in London. The exhibition is on view until Sunday, 11 December.

Bob Dylan


Bob Dylan: The Swedish connection

Friday, 14 October, 2016 0 Comments

Yesterday, Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, shook up the world of highbrow literature by announcing the awarding of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan. She seemed pleased with the outcome and there’s another Swede who’s happy with the news: Fredrik Wikingsson. Two years ago, Dylan performed a private four-song set for the Swedish journalist at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, prior to his show later that night at the venue. Wikingsson is a dedicated fan and has written at length about his personal experience with Dylan’s music.

Among the songs Bob Dylan performed for Fredrik Wikingsson were Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill, Chuck Willis’ It’s Too Late (She’s Gone) and Buddy Holly’s Heartbeat.


When Bob Dylan dreamed of St. Augustine

Thursday, 13 October, 2016 0 Comments

On 16 June 2011, Bob Dylan began a European tour in Cork, the southern capital of Ireland. The set opened with Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking and closed with Forever Young, but what made the evening particularly interesting was a song not heard all that often: I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine, from the 1967 album John Wesley Harding. Oddly enough, the last time he had played it before that was in Dublin, in 2005.

“I dreamed I saw St. Augustine
Alive as you or me
Tearing through these quarters
In the utmost misery
With a blanket underneath his arm
And a coat of solid gold
Searching for the very souls
Whom already have been sold.”

In the song, Dylan is addressed in his dreams by St. Augustine of Hippo, the bishop-philosopher who held the episcopal seat in Hippo Regius, a Roman port in northern Africa. He died in 430 A.D. when the city was overrun by Vandals. Dylanologist Tim Riley wrote that Bob uses St. Augustine’s “symbolic stature to signify anyone who has been put to death by a mob,” and his vision of the saint reveals “how it feels to be the target of mob psychology, and how confusing it is to identify with the throng’s impulses to smother what it loves too much or destroy what it can’t understand”. The opening lyrics and melody are based on the old union song I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night.


I Was Young When I Left Home

Sunday, 19 June, 2016 0 Comments

In 1961, Bob Dylan reworked the traditional song 900 Miles and turned it into the poignant I Was Young When I Left Home. He played it just once during a home recording session in Minneapolis at Christmas-time that year and it was finally given a general release in 2005 on No Direction Home: The Bootleg Series Vol 7.

Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron in the epic space opera film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, made his film breakthrough in the Dylanesque Inside Llewyn Davis, and here he offers up a beautiful interpretation of I Was Young When I Left Home.

“I was young when I left home
An’ I been out ramblin’ ’round
An’ I never wrote a letter to my home
To my home, Lord, to my home
An’ I never wrote a letter to my home.”


Bob Dylan: Young at Heart

Tuesday, 24 May, 2016 0 Comments

The greatest singer-songwriter of the past half century is 75 years old today. A generation ago, Bob Dylan sang that The Times They Are A-Changin, but he appears to be Forever Young after a lifetime in the music business. He’s just released a new album, Fallen Angels, and he’s planning an extensive summer tour which kicks off in June.

Back in 1953. Johnny Richards wrote the music and Carolyn Leigh penned the lyrics for the song that’s the opening track on Fallen Angels. Frank Sinatra was the first singer to record Young at Heart and it was such a hit that a film he was making at the time with Doris Day was renamed after the song. The sentiments are fitting today:

“And if you should survive to a hundred and five
Look at all you’ll derive out of bein’ alive
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart

Don’t you know that it’s worth
Every treasure on earth to be young at heart
For as rich as you are
It’s much better by far to be young at heart.”

Bob Dylan

Happy Birthday, Bob. Onward to “a hundred and five”!


Time passes, love fades and Dylan meets Big Data

Wednesday, 30 December, 2015 0 Comments

Although he’s a poet and a philosopher, Bob Dylan is not so ivory-tower that he scorns advertising, especially if it helps the Bob Dylan business. Back in 2004, he appeared in a commercial for Victoria’s Secret lingerie. In 2008 he did ads for Cadillac, and in 2009 he partnered with will.i.am for a Pepsi spot that aired during the Super Bowl. In October, IBM pulled off quite a coup when it coaxed Dylan into appearing in a commercial for its artificial intelligence software Watson. “I can read 800 million pages per second. My analysis shows your major themes are time passes and love fades,” Watson tells Dylan as the two riff on a song idea.

According to IBM, five Watson services analyzed 320 songs from Dylan’s archive and came up with the key trends of time passing and love fading. The message of the ad is that Watson not only thinks but learns about a topic. Among those topics are Big Data, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), all of which will be major themes here on Rainy Day in 2016.

The IoT is about connecting devices to the internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from phones to washing machines to wearables and almost anything else you can think of. The concept also covers machine components such as an airplane engine or the drill of an oil rig. According to Gartner, more than 20 billion devices will be part of the IoT by 2020.


I Got You Babe

Monday, 27 July, 2015 0 Comments

Fifty years ago, I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher spent three weeks at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The single sold more than one million copies and the song went on to top the British, Irish and Canadian charts. Our 1965 music series continues.

“So let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb.”

Responding to Bob Dylan’s acerbic It Ain’t Me Babe, Sonny Bono conceived I Got You Babe as an opposing work in every sense. Where Dylan was lyrically complex, Sonny was simple. Where Dylan was musically simple, Sonny was complex and he built upon Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound using the song’s verse-chorus-verse format with a rising coda, led by a distinctive oboe, to reach a climax. Then, the song started to crescendo again before the fadeout, and all this in just three minutes. A pop masterpiece.


Dylan goes noir

Wednesday, 4 March, 2015 0 Comments

Bob Dylan’s latest album, Shadows in the Night, is a collection of standards from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, including The Night We Called It a Day, which was written in 1941 by Matt Dennis and Tony Adair and recorded by Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. This being Dylan, comment is superfluous. The haters will hate it, and the believers will rationalize it. In the end, Bob gets away with it.


Come all ye Bob

Tuesday, 10 February, 2015 0 Comments

“Come all ye loyal heroes and listen unto me / Don’t hire with any farmer till you know what your work will be.” So begins The Rocks of Bawn, a 19th-century Irish ballad about the exploitation of rural labour. Migrants from the British Isles took this song form, with its appeal to attention, across the Atlantic and it found an audience in the New World. When Bob Dylan was honoured as the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year last Friday night in Los Angeles, he recalled in his acceptance speech the role these songs played in his own musical development. Snippet:

“I sang a lot of ‘come all you’ songs. There’s plenty of them. There’s way too many to be counted. ‘Come along boys and listen to my tale / Tell you of my trouble on the old Chisholm Trail.’ Or, ‘Come all ye good people, listen while I tell / the fate of Floyd Collins a lad we all know well / The fate of Floyd Collins, a lad we all know well.'”

If you sung all these ‘come all ye’ songs all the time, you’d be writing, ‘Come gather ’round people where ever you roam, admit that the waters around you have grown / Accept that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone / If your time to you is worth saving / And you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone / The times they are a-changing.'”